There was a sanctuary in the sanctuary, and what a gorgeous venue: the Spotlight Theatre nestled inside the old Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Moline. Consequently, you could feel the excitement in the air for the opening night of co-owners and co-directors Brent and Sara Tubbs’ first musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And boasting songs from the Disney film, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Peter Parnell (based, of course, on Victor Hugo's novel), this production was the perfect opener for this magnificent site.

In the Prenzie Players’ current Henry VIII: All Is True, men outnumber the women in the cast. (Isn’t that typical of Shakespeare, really?) Yet while the performers in director Alaina Pascarella’s presentation were collectively strong, Henry VIII’s legacy, and this production, would have been significantly less memorable without the women.

I realized it was not going to be an ordinary show right away. As the lights dimmed, the accompanist for this non-musical production attempted to play her electronic keyboard, but it would not produce a single note. After a couple more attempts, a stagehand walked out and started pulling several times on a small-engine pull cord – a.k.a. a chainsaw. That led to a sputtering engine that evidently started the keyboard … thus allowing the pianist to play the opening theme song to a 20th Century Fox film. All this set the appropriate tone for the rest of the Richmond Hill Players' latest and incredibly silly production: an adaptation of Molière's Scapin.

In the words of Oscar Hammerstein, “A song’s not a song 'til you sing it” – and sing they did at Tuesday's dress rehearsal for Quad City Music Guild's musical revue A Grand Night for Singing.

You may think a teenage dramedy that confronts complex social issues such as homophobia, abortion, teacher/student affairs, and other unspoken issues could be a seriously dry, heavy lump that leaves an audience more burdened than amused. Yet I’ve always loved the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club and how it comedically compartmentalizes its stereotypical high school students into the micro-environment of Saturday detention, forcing them to face who they are and where they fit in their high-school hierarchy. So it was consequently interesting to sit in on the September 25 technical rehearsal of the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s newest, and quite admirable, Barn Owl Series production Speech & Debate.

There was a certain air of rowdiness at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's opening-night production of Mama Won't Fly, and rightfully so, as the champagne fountain was flowing in celebration of the theatre's final production of its 41st season. Everyone seemed ready for a good laugh, and on those terms, I don't think any of us left disappointed.

Friday’s opening night of Tuesdays with Morrie found the Playcrafters Barn Theatre housing the largest audience I’ve ever seen there. It was almost unbelievable, then, that the intimacy of this two-man show directed by Jeff Ashcraft made me feel like the only person in the room – and I feel fortunate to have been a part of this production's history.

With the sentiment of the late Aretha Franklin and her famous song lyric, I extend R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the cast and crew of the Timber Lake Playhouse for delivering a most entertaining production of Larry Gallagher’s Beehive: The '60s Musical. The show's six posed, and composed, young actresses grabbed your attention from the start of Saturday's matinée performance, with each diva poised upon their platforms ready to explode with talent from the opening scene.

Dead Man's Cell Phone

“When something rings, you have to answer it. Don't you?” pleads Jean (Jessica Taylor), the mousy, bespectacled protagonist of the QC Theatre Workshop's wildly imaginative production of Dead Man's Cell Phone. This Sarah Ruhl play serves as a commentary on how modern technology both isolates us and connects us. Or at least, that's what Wikipedia would like us to believe … .

“Welcome to the Hotel California,” crooned the Eagles as the lights dimmed on Thursday's opening-night performance of California Suite at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. It was the perfect – and, let’s be honest, most obvious – song choice for this straightforward production of Neil Simon’s comedy.

Pages